BJP fails to impress Kerala electorate

Party even failed to retain its lone Nemon segment in the elections

May 02, 2021 09:00 pm | Updated 10:01 pm IST - Kozhikode

A glimpse from a BJP rally held at Thripunithura, Kerala, in connection with the Kerala Assembly election 2021.

A glimpse from a BJP rally held at Thripunithura, Kerala, in connection with the Kerala Assembly election 2021.

Just when you thought that the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will challenge the State's traditionally bipolar polity, the party failed even to retain its lone Nemon segment in the Assembly elections.

Despite working out a Nair-Ezhava binary and securing the confidence of a section of Christian community, the BJP could not hold on. This apart, the electioneering of the party heavily bolstered by the Central leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, failed to impress the electorate.

Like before, multiple factors led to the poor performance of the party in these polls too. Unable to match the social-base of the CPI(M) or the Congress, its State leadership failed to get across the message of the Central schemes to its core vote bank.

That its State president K. Surendran contesting from two Assembly segments, the hullabaloo over the candidature of Shobha Surendran and RSS ideologue R. Balasankar's outburst against the party State leadership all led to a negative image in the minds of voters. Further, the party messed up with the filing of nominations in the Thalassery and Guruvayur constituencies.

Besides, the campaign of the BJP in key segments which the party had hoped to win in a triangular contest was rooted in extravaganza and indulgence. The helicopter show of Mr. Surendran was received with sarcasm. The diatribe of the State leadership against leaders of other political parties without any gravitas had the opposite of the desired effect.

The candidacy of technocrat E. Sreedharan in Palakkad and Suresh Gopi in Thrissur has given a fillip to the sagging portrayal of the faction-ridden party to garner votes from different sections of the community, but the vehement Hindutva approach of other candidates resulted in Muslim consolidation against them.

However, the BJP leadership can take solace in the fact that the party increased its popular vote in several constituencies across the State thereby making a dent in the vote-share of both the CPI(M) and the Congress.

For the Central leadership, the Assembly polls is a time for introspection to put an end to bitter rivalry among its State leaders, stop leaders of north Kerala contesting from segments in southern districts and chalk out a political strategy for the party in Kerala.

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